Minister of the Interior Päivi Räsänen (Christ. Dem.) has criticised Minister of International Development Heidi Hautala (Green) and Minister for Foreign Affairs Erkki Tuomioja (SDP) over plans by the Foreign Ministry to look into the possibility of requiring labels on products imported from Israeli-occupied territories identifying their origin..
The Foreign Ministry has held discussions on the matter with other government ministries and with officials responsible for supervision.
Räsänen feels that the Foreign Ministry’s study into the possibility of labelling products produced at Israeli settlements in the Palestinian territories would amount to “unnecessary incitement of a boycott and an aggravation of political tensions.”
Writing in her blog on Friday, Räsänen says that Finland should support the Mideast peace process and should not join forces behind groups that unilaterally support Palestine.
Finland and the other EU countries do not recognise the occupied territories as part of the state of Israel.
Heidi Hautala proposed already in June that Finland should quickly draw up a clear set of guidelines that would require retailers to place labels on products indicating their origin.
Hautala feels that buying products from the territories helps support economic growth in the unlawful settlements, providing justification for human rights violations taking place there.